ATU LOCAL 758 ~ 100TH ANNIVERSARY

RE: OPERATOR SEPTEMBER 2019 SHAKE-UP

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ATU LOCAL 758, 6923 Lakewood Drive W, B-1 Tacoma Washington 


August 15, 2019

 

Amy Cleveland
Executive Director of Administration
Equal Employment Opportunity Officer
Pierce Transit

 

RE: Operator September 2019 Shake-up

 

Executive Director Cleveland,

 

This communique is in regards to concerns and violation of the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) by Pierce Transit (the Employer) as they relate to the implementation of the September 2019 Operator Shake-up.

The Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) Local 758 (the Union) is aware that due to personnel changes in the Scheduling and Planning department that there were for lack of a better term “hiccups” in producing the Shake-up. The Union can understand and accept these “hiccups” as they pertain to the information presented to the Union on August 12, 2019, examples being “run number and run assignment issues” missing travel time on some runs, missing end times and issues that the Union unsderstands will be corrected on the final run cut.

 

However, the Union does have other concerns in the creation of the September 2019 Shake-up. The Union was contacted by Dena Withrow Transit Manager-Service Delivery prior to the creation of the September 2019 Shake-up in regards to Pierce Transit’s interest in increasing the number of four-ten (4/10) runs/assignments. The Union will assume that Manager Withrow contacted the Union as per the contractual agreement Article 23 - Hours and Working Conditions – Operators, Paragraph B. Alternative Work Schedule for Transit Operators, it states in “clear and unambiguous” language Number of Assignments: 4/10 assignments shall not exceed three percent (3%) of the total number of fixed route straight runs. Manager Withrow stated an increase to a maximum of (25), an increase of approximately ten (10) 4/10 runs/assignments. The Union’s response was that it “may” be viable based on the production of a “mock” run cut wherein the Union would be able to assess the impact on (5/8) runs, split-runs and the safety of your employees, our members. The response from Manager Withrow was that there shouldn’t be an issue with the Union receiving a “mock” run cut showing the addition of the (10) 4/10 run/assignments. This was apparently an untruth by Manager Withrow, or a flat-out disregard of the (CBA) by Executive staff who directed the Planning Schedulers to totally disregard the (CBA) to the detriment and safety of the Operators.

 

The Union in attending the Shake-up review meeting on Monday August 12, 2019 was then informed that the number of 4/10(s) had been increased to thirty (30) in a display of flagrant disregard for the (CBA) and per directive of the Executive staff.

 

This in no way again in violation of the (CBA), was a slight adjustment. A (100%) increase cannot by any means be deemed a slight adjustment by anyone’s definition. Labor Relations Officer (LRO) Hoang stated; what’s the difference 3%, 5% 6% in obvious disregard of the (CBA) which I noted stated a maximum of 3%.

 

What the actions of the Executive staff did create obviously and with a total disregard for the (CBA), the safety of its employees, and circumventing input from the Union in creating the (30) 4/10s was an increase to (90) split-runs, (up from 72) which encompass 12 -13 hours per day which if you include the time an Operator’s spends in preparing for work and traveling back and forth to work easily equals about (15) hours per day and approximately (65-75) hours per week on the job. Anytime (as an Operator) you leave the base (on a split) you risk being late due to conditions outside his/her control (much like operating a coach in service). Either Executive staff doesn’t know or knows and does not care, after driving one part of a split it is not easy to just fall asleep or take a nap because your senses have been put on such high alert from operating the first part of your split, or if you do fall asleep it’s not an easy rest because you don’t want to sleep to soundly, because if you oversleep you’ll be late (Operators who knowingly have been napping in the Operator’s “quiet room” by Dispatchers have received lates). The question is when is rest possible, and does this affect safety, the safe operation of coaches and Operator’s health? The Union’s position unequivocally is yes. Said runs barely meets the “legal” minimum of (8.5) hours between runs. As the Union seeks to reduce these type runs with 12-13 hours splits, the Employer continues to put the Operators in harm’s way by depriving them of needed rest which is rather puzzling to the Union, as the Agency touts the mantra of “safety”. What safety?

 

The agency has refused to implement breaks as required by law. This has been expressed to Executive staff by the Union on multiple occasions, but instead of addressing the issue Pierce Transit chooses to do everything it can to diminish adherence to the law. As Pierce Transit on occasions tries to emulate King Country Metro, why in this instance of obeying the law are you not. King County Metro Operators get (15) minute breaks. Why? Because (5) minutes of the break is used to deboard passengers and go to a layover area. Apparently as stated by LRO Hoang, Executive staff made a decision to direct Scheduling personnel to put in (5) minute breaks every (2) hours. This is absurd. It can take 3-5 minutes to deboard passengers, answer questions and unload a wheelchair bound passenger and check the coach for left items. Then if the coach signage does not show “Out of Service” passengers will attempt to board. This apparently was not considered by the Executive staff or was, and disregarded. None of the runs show break times, or break start/end times. There has not been any notice to Supervisors in regards to breaks, so how do they know an Operator is on a break. The break period by law relieves an individual from “all” job duties. This means an Operator can sit in his/her seat and use his/her cellphone to call, read or whatever they choose. Why hasn’t the cellphone policy been amended to make exceptions to break periods and why has this information not been sent to the affected Operators. There is no guidance as to how and where an Operator is to take a break. Sitting in a transit center in a bus zone is unacceptable.

 

Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) Local 758 due to Pierce Transit Scheduling/Planning department issues, the addition of Sound Transit routes #540 & #541, the effective dates of the September 2019 Shake-up signing and implementation, and the extension of signing dates which could adversely affect our members vacation and family plans prior to the start of the school year, in this instance has allowed Pierce Transit to exceed the (CBA) in regards to the number of 4/10 run/assignments.


ATU Local 758 in no way shape or form considers this precedent setting and indeed will exercise its right to review the December 2019 Shake-up and reduce the number of 4/10 runs/assignments to the contractual limit based on the Union’s assessment of the impact and safety of Operators forced to work (12 -13) hour split runs due to the unilateral implementation of the additional 4/10’s by Pierce Transit Executive staff in violation of the (CBA).

 

Respectfully,

 

Isaac O. Tate
President/Business Agent
Amalgamated Transit Union Local 758
Pres758@atu758.org

 

cc: Anh Hoang, Labor Relations Officer
     Mike Griffus, Executive Director Service Delivery/Support
     Dena Withrow, Transit Manager, Service Delivery
     Ryan Wheaton, Executive Director Planning & Community Development

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